2 responses to “Driving assessment in older adults”

  1. A relative, who has presumably been driving with the patient, is the expert.
    No one wants to have their relative’s license taken away but they recognize the danger first. If they do not feel safe with the patient, they know best.
    It then is in everyone’s best interest to have the doctor make the move to have the license take away.
    Sometimes doctors have to make difficult decisions.

  2. I remember the day a very elderly patient of mine didn’t show up for his 3pm appointment. He had crashed his car, at high speed, on the Parkway. But he wasn’t alone when he went to heaven: a young motorcyclist, a father of 3, was killed too. I remember that (a) driving is a privilege, not a right (b) we have a duty to protect other members of the public if drivers lack the vision, hearing, cognition and reflexes needed to pilot a high-momentum vehicle.

    When I ask a frail elder with obvious health challenges “how did you get to clinic?”, it is partly in their interest, partly in mine but mostly for the safety of others. “How would you defend yourself in court if you were in an accident (even if innocent)?”.

    Most understand that alternative transport is cheaper (cost, gas, maintainance, insurance, etc) than owning a car. As Diane points out, there are other modes of transport. I can see why a busy physician, unwilling to make enemies, might defer the argument on this topic. But if it is my 6 year old grand-daughter who is the casualty of our lack of professional diligence, I would have strong emotions.
    Is there an appetite for annual road testing after a certain age? Or at least a publicity blast on the topic? Thank you Brenda for highlighting resources for doctors: I will use them. But the key must be verbal engagement, early on.

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